Committed to IEC Standards for all

IEC Affiliate Country Programme promotes the IEC throughout the world

By Aliyah Esmail

Launched in 2001, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme offers a form of participation in the IEC without the financial burden of actual membership and enhances the participation of developing countries in International Standardization. It provides these countries with a greater awareness of standardization and conformity assessment. It helps them understand how existing International Standards can be adopted at a national level, then applied and used for greater safety and efficiency in the context of economical and industrial expansion. To meet this objective the Programme also aims at enhancing Affiliate Country participation in the development of IEC International Standards.

Saint Kitts and Nevis and South Sudan joined the Affiliate Country Programme with the hope that trade will be facilitated Saint Kitts and Nevis and South Sudan joined the Affiliate Country Programme with the hope that trade will be facilitated

From Oslo to Delhi

Since the 2012 IEC General Meeting, the number of Affiliate Countries has increased to 83, with South Sudan and Saint Kitts and Nevis the latest countries to join the IEC family. Five countries, Bhutan, Burundi, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Gabon, established NECs (National Electrotechnical Committee) that provide them with a basis from which to expand their future national electrotechnical standardization activities.

After having set up a NEC and adopted at least 50 IEC International Standards as national standards, two more countries have been granted Affiliate Plus status, Ethiopia and Ecuador. This enables them to adopt a greater number of IEC International Standards for free and provides access to a mentoring programme designed to facilitate their participation in IEC work.

Since Oslo, 5 countries have declared additional adoptions of national standards – Afghanistan with 89, Bangladesh with 149, Ecuador with 50, Ghana with 270, and Zambia with 107. Three new countries have declared adoptions and they are Azerbaijan with 2, Bhutan with 13, and the Dominican Republic with 2.

South Sudan and Saint Kitts and Nevis join the IEC

South Sudan became one of the newest Affiliate Country in the IEC family even though it does not yet have a National Standards Body, but is affiliated through its Ministry of Electricity and Dams. The next step for South Sudan will be to bring together its stakeholders to establish a NEC and start benefiting from what the IEC can offer to support electrification programmes and ensure electrical safety for the population.

Saint Kitts and Nevis joined the IEC in September 2013. The Affiliate Country Programme will give Saint Kitts and Nevis a form of participation in the IEC and the ability to adopt those IEC International Standards that are relevant for the local economy, free of charge. This will help Saint Kitts and Nevis increase the awareness, use and adoption of IEC International Standards and, together with conformity assessment, support economic development and trade.

African affiliates enhance IEC involvement

Paul Johnson, Executive Secretary of AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission) and Secretary of the IEC NC (National Committee) of South Africa, represented IEC at the SADCSTAN (Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Standardization) meeting in Angola. At the event in Luanda, Johnson presented a message of support from the IEC to SADCSTAN members. He informed delegates that there were now eight National Committees in Africa, including South Africa (currently the only Full Member of the IEC in the SADC region). He told them that since the last SADCSTAN meeting in April 2012, IEC Affiliate Countries in the SADC region had received 115 copies of IEC International Standards to consider for national adoption.

Evah Oduor, Affiliate coordinator for Africa, represented the IEC at the ARSO (African Organisation for Standardisation) General Assembly in Yaounde, Cameroon. The meeting was attended by 22 countries. Five of the countries are Members of the IEC and 17 are Affiliate Countries. Odour presented the IEC Affiliate Country Programme highlighting the benefits of the programme.

Participation in AFSEC General Assembly

The IEC participated in AFSEC’s third General Assembly held in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting was attended by 62 delegates representing 14 African Countries. At this meeting AFSEC members approved the recommendation from the IEC mirror committees to adopt as pan African electrotechnical standards IEC International Standards from IEC TC (technical Committee) 13: Electrical energy measurement and control, TC 64: Electrical installations and protection against electric shock, and TC 57: Power systems management and associated information exchange. AFSEC Members also decided to add TC 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems to their list of IEC mirror committees and to establish a conformity assessment committee whose members will be appointed at the next General Assembly to be held in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) in September 2014.

IEC visits the DRC

The DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) has been an Affiliate Country since 2001 through OCC (Office de Contrôle Congolais) which carries out both standardization and Conformity Assessment activities. Since the meeting with the DRC delegation in Ouagadougou in March 2012, for the joint IEC/ISO course on adoption held in Burkina Faso, the DRC has established its NEC with the support of the Affiliate Secretariat. The first general assembly of the NEC took place in Kinshasa in April 2013. The DRC was granted the Affiliate Plus Status in 2012.

Françoise Rauser, the Affiliate Executive Secretary and IEC International Liaison Officer, visited the DRC with the aim of encouraging NEC members to participate actively in IEC technical work. She also raised awareness of the ministerial authorities on the importance of using IEC International Standards for OCC Conformity Assessment activities, in particular in the southern mining province of Katanga.

Facilitating participation in international standardization

A workshop was organized by the Standards Council of Canada under the CATRTA (Canada-Americas Trade-related Trade Assistance) programme. The aim of this programme is to reduce barriers and challenges to the adoption of International Standards and stimulate participation in international standardization work in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The workshop, which took place in Saint Lucia, showed participating countries how they could become more involved with the work of organizations such as the IEC. Amaury Santos, the IEC LARC Regional Centre Manager delivered a training programme to help workshop attendees and their countries increase participation in the IEC. Santos outlined IEC Affiliate Country Programme benefits and explained how IEC International Standards together with conformity assessment promote the safety of electrical and electronic devices, help protect the environment, and allow them to successfully combat the influx of counterfeit products.

IEC launches Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status

Recognizing the need to raise awareness and provide a better understanding of the specific requirements linked to conformity assessment activities, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme Secretariat, in collaboration with the Conformity Assessment Board, has launched the new ACAS (Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status).

ACAS will offer Affiliate participants new benefits in all IEC Conformity Assessment Systems, IECEE, IECQ and IECEx, including any future CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems established by the IEC. The objective is to train Affiliate Countries to use IEC International Standards and benefit from its CA Systems through the recognition of IEC CA Certificates, whenever possible at the national level. These benefits include:

  • Regional awareness events;
  • Documentation and guides on CA at the IEC;
  • Webinars (upon request);
  • Learning modules on IEC website and CD-ROMs (under development);
  • A resource database (under development); and
  • Active participation in each system, based on prerequisite training.

Any Affiliate Country that has met the following criteria is entitled to ACAS: officially declared the adoption of IEC International Standards as national standards; signed the ACAS Pledge; and made the commitment to use the ACAS Learning Modules. Existing IECEE Affiliates have automatically been granted ACAS and have a year to sign the Pledge document.

Saint Kitts and Nevis and South Sudan joined the Affiliate Country Programme with the hope that trade will be facilitated Saint Kitts and Nevis and South Sudan joined the Affiliate Country Programme with the hope that trade will be facilitated
ACAS provides developing countries with a better understanding of the specific requirements linked to conformity assessment activities ACAS provides developing countries with a better understanding of the specific requirements linked to conformity assessment activities